Handicap International took immediate action to help victims of the earthquake that hit Nepal on 25th April 2015. The organisation also works to improve the living conditions of people with disabilities and to promote their inclusion in communities.
© Wesley Pryor / Handicap International
The earthquake that hit Nepal on 25th April 2015 killed 8,000 people and injured more than 22,000. Thanks to its experience in the care management of earthquake victims, Handicap International was able to take immediate action to help people affected by the disaster. The organisation held more than 10,500 rehabilitation sessions for more than 4,000 people, carried out psychosocial support sessions, and distributed over 2,300 mobility aids (walking frames, wheelchairs, crutches) and specific equipment for more than 2,200 people.
A hotline has been set up to inform people about the organisation's rehabilitation provision. The organisation has also distributed over 4,300 basic needs kits (tents, cooking kits, hygiene kits, and blankets) to the most vulnerable families, as well as equipment for producing sheet metal roofs to protect more than 11,000 people from the monsoon rains.
The organisation continues to help communities, families and people with disabilities affected by the earthquake in order to ensure they benefit from new sources of income and are capable of protecting themselves in the event of a new disaster.
Handicap International is working with communities and local authorities, developing emergency plans and improving alert and evacuation systems. This work takes into account the specific needs of people with disabilities. The organisation is also able to immediately dispatch health professionals (doctors, nurses, and so on) to ensure earthquake victims receive immediate care and treatment.
Handicap International also supports five rehabilitation centres in Nepal, enabling thousands of people in the country to benefit from physiotherapy and orthopaedic fitting, and works to improve rehabilitation services in eight earthquake-affected districts.
The organisation also facilitates the professional inclusion of people with disabilities. It provides personalised support and advice, and helps them to undertake training to practise the professional activity of their choice. The organisation also raises employers' awareness of disability and works with professional inclusion services to meet the specific needs of people with disabilities.
Lastly, the organisation works to improve the protection and rights of prisoners and to prevent the mistreatment (including torture) of detainees and the onset of long-term chronic conditions caused by imprisonment. Handicap International also improves the living conditions of prisoners and access to essential services, including water, food and healthcare.
Nepal, the poorest country in Asia, is highly vulnerable to earthquakes.
The earthquake which hit Nepal on 25th April 2015 killed more than 8,000 people and injured 22,000. Nepal, a country which is highly exposed to the risk of seismic activity, in particular in the valley of Kathmandu, is preparing itself for these disasters.
Over 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. The livelihoods of three-quarters of the population depend on agriculture. Its economic development was hindered by the conflict between the government authorities and Maoist insurgents (1996-2006), who are today integrated into the democratic process. This conflict left 12,000 dead and displaced hundreds of thousands of people. It also left many veterans of the war with disabilities. Today the country is working towards democracy and is in a period of relative stability.
In Nepal, disability is primarily considered a social issue. It is rarely addressed as a public health issue or taken into account in education, health and economic development. An estimated 78% of children with disabilities are not in education (Barriga, 2011) and only 1% of the population with disabilities in Nepal has access to employment.